July 31, 2013

Vegetarian Feta-Zucchini Lasagna

Last Saturday we made vegetarian Feta-Zucchini Lasagna for the first time ever and it was so good! Here’s the recipe:

Feta-Zucchini Lasagna

Lasagna sheets
1 package (about 175 grams) of feta or salad cheese
About 1 cup grated cheese
2 medium or one big (about 500 grams) zucchinis
a ball (125 g) of mozzarella

Tomato Sauce:
1 1/2 onions or 1 big onion
2 medium carrots
2 tablespoons oil
1 can (370 grams) herb-flavoured crushed tomatoes
1 dl (about half a cup) water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1,5 teaspoon herbes de provence

Béchamel or White Sauce:
50 grams margarine or butter
about 1 dl (less than a half a cup) plain flour
8-10 dl (4 cups) milk
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper
pinch of nutmeg

1. Take a rectangle shape casserole or lasagna dish. Preheat oven to about 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Peel and chop the onions. Peel and grate the carrots. Cut the zucchini in half and chop it in a half centimetre pieces.
3. In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the zucchinis lightly.
4. Make the tomato sauce. In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions and the grated carrots. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and water in a pan. Add salt, ground black pepper and spices. Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the white sauce is ready.
5. Make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Add half of the milk stirring constantly. When the sauce is starting to thicken, add the rest of the milk stirring the sauce. Let the sauce come to a boil and then turn the heat lower. Add salt, white pepper and nutmeg.
6. Crumble the feta cheese cubes with a fork into a crumble.
7. Spread white sauce and then tomato sauce on the bottom of the lasagna dish and then a line of lasagna sheets. Then first assemble a layer of zucchinis, then crumbled feta, then tomato sauce and then white sauce. Continue this with the next few layers. On the last layer tear mozzarella on top of everything and put on the last layer of lasagna sheets and cover it with white sauce.
8. Put the lasagna in the oven for 30 minutes. Then cover it with grated cheese and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the surface is golden brown.
9. Let the lasagna to withdraw for a while before serving. Enjoy!

July 28, 2013

Warm Summer Nights

Today we slept late and had a good night sleep. We started to wonder what to make for dinner later and we decided trying to make Vegetarian Feta-Zucchini Lasagna (recipe to this later), something my mom had had earlier this week while she went to lunch from work. So we decided to try could we make it and would it be as good as in the restaurant.

We went to a grocery shop and got everything ready. After eight o’clock we started to make the lasagna. When we got it in the oven, the wait felt so long and when it finally came out of the oven I couldn’t wait to dig in. We also made salad to a big crystal bowl and had a fresh baguette.

We went to the balcony to eat and drank red wine from the glasses with a real golden rim. The lasagna was so very good and I hadn’t even tasted the restaurant version but my mom said we got close. To me the lasagna was perfect and I would be doing it again soon!

We decided to go to the shore to sit on the patio and watch the sunset with a bottle of cold white wine. About 11:30 p.m. we left and I took my camera with me for my mom had took a picture of a sunset a few days back and it looked amazing. We were the only one there and we sat down and watched the water and the sun setting down. Occasionally someone with a dog went by but otherwise we were all alone. We sat, drank and talked about everything from boats to why does stars flicker and just enjoyed ourselves.

Suddenly we spotted a duck pack swimming in the water.

And we went to wet our toes in the water. It was very nice though the mosquitos were eating me up. They left my mother alone but were all over me.

We watched to the opposite shore and looked back to the days we were still living there imagining that with a boat we would be there in no time through the water.

We sat until the sun had gone down and just sat and talked and drank the whole bottle of wine. On 1:30 a.m. we rose up and started to head back home. This was a very nice day indeed with no rush and with good food and drinks. The nights are awfully dark again day by day so I want to take everything out of the rest of the summer before it’s over.

I even had time to watch two movies today; “Grown Ups” and “The Transporter” – both good movies and different movies and humor and action was just what I needed today. More, more, more of these kind of days!

July 16, 2013

Enjoying the Summer

This summer has been the best so far that I've lived in our new home. I have enjoyed it on the fullest and care free.

On Sunday we went to the city and got ourselves hot sandwiches. My mom ordered chicken-goat cheese sandwich and I ordered Tofu-Tapenade (Tofu-Olive-Tomato) sandwich. We ordered a salad with them. We got home with the sandwiches and went to the balcony to eat them.

 We drank cool white wine with the sandwiches.

The cats were also coming to see what’s going on. 

Later on that day we made sangria and put fresh orange and lemon in it.

(makes 1,75 liters)

5 dl (2 cups) red wine
5 dl (2 cups) lemon soda
half an orange
half a lemon
0,75 dl (1/3 cup) vodka

1. Mix the red wine and the lemon soda together.
2. Mix in the vodka.
3. Slice the orange and the lemon (peel them if you like) and mix into the sangria.
4. Stir well and let it cool in the fridge for at least one hour so the fruits can let their taste to the drink.

On Monday I made mushroom pasta for dinner.

And on the next day I made Fresh Tomato And Mozzarella Salad with fresh basil.

During this summer so far I have made great foods and drank great drinks and had fun. I hope that the rest of the summer will be as good as the beginning. I don’t want the summer to be over but the nights are getting shorter and darker and I just want the sunny days last forever...

July 14, 2013

Lara and an Idiopathic Cystitis

On last Thursday we had to take Lara to the vet - it was a scary night.

Earlier on that day and evening Lara was normal at first and I hadn’t noticed anything different during the whole day. On the evening she brought her white toy rat and commanded food by meowing and nibbling our legs. Then she lied down on her side on the mattress after she had brought the rat. Soon she jumped on my bed and went to lie on my pillow which she never does and started to look sick and started to meow low and different than usual. Then her plica semilunaris came out and we knew that something wasn’t right. We decided to take her to an on call vet which was open the whole night.

Lara didn't meowed when she was put in a carrying box and she always does that. She meowed a little at first when we took her to the car. She meowed a bit on our trip to the vet but then went to silent which was also alarming. We got to the vet quite soon and we went to the counter to give Lara’s information to the nurse. The nurse said that we can wait our turn in the lobby.

We waited in the lobby and before us there was a man with a cat which we soon learned had an open fracture for the reception room were open on the top and we could hear everything which was kind of disturbing. Lara twitched and tried to back up in the carrying box and meowed low every once in the while. The time felt to go by so slowly as we waited our turn.

The nurse took us in the reception room and we lifted the carrying box onto the examination table but when we opened the door Lara didn’t come out. We had to take the whole lid off of the carrying box so the nurse could examine her. The nurse feel her stomach, listened her heart and lungs with a stethoscope, took her temperature and then sedated Lara with a needle which also contained painkiller. She didn’t even meow when the nurse stuck the needle which to told that Lara wasn’t right. Lara was a little cool so the nurse brought a heat mattress under the carrying box and a blanket on Lara. She said that the doctor will come as soon as possible.

We waited as the slowly minutes went by. When the doctor came she started to examine Lara the same way the nurse did. The doctor said that Lara’s bladder was full and for some reason she can’t empty it herself. She said that they will sedate her and put in a catheter and take a urine sample, blood test and X-ray to see if everything is alright and said it will take about 15 to 20 minutes. I asked why did Lara twitched even she was sedated and the doctor said it was because of the nerves. She took Lara away to the tests and all we could do was wait. First ten minutes went by, then twenty minutes. I couldn’t stand to be inside and I needed to go outside to get some fresh air, my eyes were sore for I had cried so much.

When I went inside I saw the other reception room’s door open and there were the man standing beside his cat with his wife and the doctor. I couldn’t see the cat but everyone were standing by her/he so quietly that I knew exactly what was going on. The man had talked on the phone earlier discussing about the expenses of a surgery where the cat would be needed to go to fix her/his leg and it meant possibly an amputation which the man said was an impossible option for the cat was an outdoor cat. I knew that they were putting the cat to sleep. It all felt so bad, we had the same nurse and the same reception room when we brought Siru here a little over ten months ago for the last time and needed to put her to sleep and it was already night and dark and now someone else had to put their cat to sleep – it all felt somehow ominous and I feared what the new would be.

When I went back to the reception room, Lara was still gone and there was still nothing news to tell. After half an hour the doctor came back and I was in panic what would the news be. She said that there was nothing alarming with the blood test or the X-rays but that Lara couldn’t empty her bladder on her own and the catheter helped. There was no crystals in her urine, and there was nothing wrong with her X-rays. In her blood test her kidney account was a little high but the doctor said it was because of the stress and her red blood cell account was a little high too but because of the dehydration. The doctor said that she suspects an Idiopathic Cystitis. She told us that it is stress related illness with cats and causes burning like pain in the bladder and the cat can’t urinate due to the pain. She said it’s nothing to be worry about but Lara needed to be staying there overnight to be treated and to be on a drip for she was dehydrated and said that she has got a painkiller and they will monitor can she urinate on her own. The doctor said that they will call during the night if something comes up with Lara’s condition.

It was difficult to leave without Lara but I knew it was the best of her to stay at the clinic. I had feared to be left with an empty carrying box like on the last time when we brought Siru to the vet – I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to another of our beloved cats, I will never be ready for that. But now we had left the carrying box to the vet and Lara in a good care and somewhere beneath my fear I felt good about it. It was ten past one at the morning when we left. We drove back home. I would have thought that Pikkunen (our other cat called “Tiny”) would have been confused where her sister have gone but she wasn’t much more restless than usual. She still needed to sleep near us the whole night and couldn’t be alone. I was fearing the call for informing that something was wrong with Lara, all night, but hopefully the call didn't come. I was waiting for the whole night. And only in the morning the staff called and said that Lara could get home as soon as we could pick her up. My mom got her after work at 4 p.m. When my mom brought Lara home I was overjoyed! My mother told me that when she went to get Lara she had risen up and purred and came right to the door with her own sparkly self to wait to be let out for she had recognize my mother’s voice.

Lara smelled different and Pikkunen didn’t go near her for a few days. Lara’s scent confused me too for I knew what she usually smelled like and now she smelled sterile hospital. It took a couple of days before her own scent was back and Pikkunen started to go close her. Only today I could have been relaxed about Lara. I have been watching does she go on the litter box and how she’s doing, is something wrong or different but she has done well and is back to her normal self. She purrs and needs attention and affection as usual and comes close to us and don’t meow in pain. I can’t be happier. I love Lara (and Pikkunen of course).

July 5, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole

Continuing with the ” Alice in Wonderland” theme. I’ve been watching and reading “Alice in Wonderland” very much lately.

I had bought both “Alice in Wonderland” Blu-Ray versions of the movie directed by Tim Burton and the cartoon version. I’ve been watching both of them very much and I just like them so much I had to watch them again and again.

I had bought an illustrated “Alice in Wonderland” book from eBay. It is released in 1951, its pages are fragile and it smells old. It has 92 illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. I love it! I remember when at the hotel at Helsinki I just started to read it and I went on page by page and I felt I couldn’t stop.

So I have been reading a lot and watched movies a lot – my kind of therapy. I love watching movies and to read! Tonight I’m planning to go under my sheets and read on...

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